Recent responses from Florida and the South
Recent responses from Florida and the South
Three aboard burning boat
Air Station Miami
Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce, Fla., and Air Station Miami responded to a report of a 61-foot boat on fire about 50 miles east of Fort Pierce. Three people on board the burning boat abandoned ship and were found in their life raft by a good Samaritan. All three persons were safely hoisted to a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and were en route to St. Lucie County International Airport. No medical services had been requested. (Dec. 1)
Man, dog adrift
Turks and Caicos Islands
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Seneca was responding to a distress call from a man sailing with his dog on a 36-foot sailboat about 75 miles northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The man and his dog departed Fort Lauderdale and were headed to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, when the rudder broke northeast of Turks and Caicos. The man radioed for help. The sailboat was adrift in 8-foot seas and the weather was expected to deteriorate due to approaching storms. Seneca was expected to arrive on scene the next morning. Seneca was planning to tow the sailboat to the nearest safe haven, possibly in the Turks and Caicos. The man is reported to be in good health with the necessary safety equipment and enough food to last five days and water to last 10 days. He has all the appropriate survival gear on board including a life raft, an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon and flares. (Dec. 6)
Two men, 28-footer missing
Air Stations Miami and Clearwater, Fla.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for two Florida men, ending a massive search that began after the pair’s 28-foot pleasure boat reportedly became disabled about 27 miles southwest of Dry Tortugas, Fla. The men, both 31 years old, were reported to have departed from Naples, Fla. One of the men called a family member using a satellite phone and reported they could only use one of two engines, were running low on fuel and were trying to reach Dry Tortugas for assistance. A family member called the Coast Guard later to report that they had lost communications with the two men. The Coast Guard immediately diverted a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft already flying over the Florida Straits and launched Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur to search the waters near the last known position of the two men. The owner of the boat reported that flares and personal flotation devices were on board, but the boat was not equipped with a VHF radio or an EPIRB. The Coast Guard coordinated a massive, multiagency search in the Florida Straits for two days, including aircraft from Coast Guard Air Stations Miami and Clearwater, Fla., U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Moody Air Force Base as well as the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin. Combined, the aircraft and vessels searched more than 9,000 square miles. Despite the aggressive search and significant number of assets used in the search, the boat and men all remained missing. (Dec. 7)
Sunk in shallow water
Station Cortez, Fla.
Coast Guard Station Cortez rescued five people from a sunken pleasure boat about six miles west of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Bradenton, Fla. Station Cortez received a call from Manatee 911 reporting that five people were on a 23-foot pleasure boat that was taking on water near the mouth of the Manatee River. Station Cortez launched a 25-foot rescue boat and arrived within 15 minutes. When they arrived, the people were standing on their sunken boat in waist-deep water. The five boaters were transferred to the Coast Guard boat and brought to a nearby boat ramp. The men, ages 54 to 18, were all reported to be in good condition and declined medical attention. It was unknown why the vessel sunk. The owner planned to have the boat commercially salvaged. (Dec. 9)
Three rescued after capsize
Station Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pulled three people from the water after their 15-foot boat capsized around two nautical miles east of Port Everglades. A member of the capsized boat used his VHF marine radio to notify the Coast Guard that their boat overturned, leaving all three men in the water. The crew from Station Fort Lauderdale arrived and recovered all three men. All three men were checked out by EMS personnel who were awaiting at the station. Weather conditions at the time of the incident were 5- to 6-foot seas, northeast winds at 20-25 miles per hour. The Coast Guard also recommends that boaters should always have a VHF marine radio and an EPIRB on their vessel at all times. These devices are invaluable to rescuers when communicating with a vessel in distress and helps expedite any rescue such as this one. (Dec. 11)
Four men, dog rescued
Air Station Miami, Fla.
A Coast Guard crew from Air Station Miami located four men and a dog in a life raft 14 miles northwest of Dry Tortugas National Park after their 93-foot boat sank. The 65-year-old master and three passengers were forced to abandon ship with their dog, Shipwreck, and inflate the survival raft after their boat sank when water starting coming over the stern. Coast Guard watchstanders at the Coast Guard District 7 Command Center received an EPIRB signal and launched an HU-25 Falcon jet from Miami to search for the crew and boat. Upon locating the survivors, the Falcon crew guided a good Samaritan fishing boat, which was operating in the area, to the scene. The crew of the fishing boat safely recovered the four men and their dog. Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne arrived later to transport the survivors to Key West. The men and the dog were reported to be in good condition. The boat and its crew were originally transiting from Bayou Le Batre, La., to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The boat sank in 180 feet of water. (Dec. 22)
Injured, boat ablaze
Station Fort Pierce, Fla.
Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Fort Pierce, Fla., rescued two men whose 21-foot boat caught fire at sea about three miles east of Fort Pierce. Both men were aboard when the fire broke out. Only one was reported to have been injured in the incident. The uninjured man called the Coast Guard for assistance using the boat’s VHF marine radio. A rescue crew from Station Fort Pierce arrived on scene and brought both men aboard the Coast Guard rescue boat. Both were transported to the Coast Guard station for transfer to local EMS. The injured man was subsequently airlifted to Orlando Regional Hospital. (Dec. 24)